Social Distancing and Isolation
While driving up to Massachusetts recently I listened to an interview on NPR with Vivek H. Murthy, MD, 19th U.S. Surgeon General, on his book "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World." How timely that it will be released in April as we are well into the virus experience requiring social distancing and isolation. It seems that these words have become our mantra.
While Murthy does not explicitly speak of God’s plan for His creation to be connected, he says that “building a more connected society is about returning to who we were ultimately designed to be- beings who are connected to and need one another. We evolved over thousands of years to rely on one another. Strong social connections were essential to our survival.”
Presently we are striving to foster a stronger connection in our community by continuing those things that have first priority to maintain life. In the spirit of trusting God, in practicing health and well- being measures, and in taking care of one another, we are expectant. Will life return to what we considered to be normal? Or, will we live with a different slant on life caring, with compassion as community in relationship?
In this in between time, how can isolation, loneliness (for many, all ages), and social distancing give way to being more connected in real and life- giving ways? Tell us what is happening. We don’t need to dial up a clergy person or staff member. Call your kids and grandkids. There is more time to talk and engage now.
Call a friend or someone you have not spoken to for a while. Listen and share your stories. Share some laughter. Pray on the phone or in silence together. Sing a song together (doesn’t matter how skilled the voice). If you like to write, drop a note or cheery card. E-mail, Facebook if computer/phone savvy. Read a book and discuss. See a movie on TV and exchange comments. Weather reports, gardening plans, can be a connector from one side of the country to the other.
Good Sam awaits your ideas. We’ll forward to the parish. Be creative and let us hear from you.
I am praying that weeks of the church’s required separation will soon bring us together with grateful awareness that God has indeed created us to be the Body of Christ. We can Live Stream services. We can Zoom meetings. But the Body of Christ is most complete and enriched when we are present one to each other, and in the presence of one another.
You, we are His beloved, and we belong one to another. Forgive and remove barriers of years spent apart. Reminisce and look ahead to God’s goodness and mercy. Reflect on the Kingdom of God, His will to be done in lives and within the life of His Church.
In the name of Jesus, much love dear friends.